Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Different View From A Fangirl

When I was a child, one of my earliest memories is of my mother and her four sisters sitting in our cramped, yellow linoleum kitchen drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and talking about Star Trek.
Their talk of William Shatner was mostly non-verbal, consisting of giggles and nudges and fanning themselves with supermarket fliers. De Kelley’s blue eyes made them blush. But they spoke of Leonard Nimoy in hushed tones, describing him as beautiful, a word I never heard them ever use to describe another man. His ethnicity was a mystery to them-- Ukraine seeming just as alien as Vulcan. They craved Spock’s calm, his honesty, his loyalty--so different from the men in their own lives.
They talked about the Enterprise as if it were a real place to be. They went there when news of the Vietnam war and what they thought was the end of the Civil Rights Movement at the death of Bobby Kennedy so soon after Dr. King became too much to bear. For one hour a week, Star Trek was a place to seek and to hide, a place of solace and of healing--with NichelleNichols giving them hope for their own daughters.
Beginning in 2005, in the space of about eighteen months, I lost both of my parents, my grandfather and an uncle. My dog died and my brother went off to war. The Enterprise was where I retreated when I felt myself begin to crumble under the weight of it all. Star Trek brought me back to the memory of that melted-butter kitchen, of being cuddled in my aunt’s lap while she fed me sips of cool, sweet coffee from a spoon. I felt myself coming back to Earth and my center of gravity return.
Later, my brother told me that every night he spent in Iraq , he lay in his bunk and watched Deep Space 9 and Voyager on a tiny portable DVD player. “Otherwise, I don’t know if I would’ve made it,” he said.
I listen to the fan boys bicker about canon and continuity and technology or whatever and I just laugh. I can’t worry my pretty little head over details like that.
I only know that just the opening music from the original series has always had the power to thrill me to my bones, soothe my broken heart or lift my grief for a moment. I hear the high, clear tones of those first four notes, like bells calling monks to prayer, then the sweet clarion of a horn heralding the appearance of the Enterprise . A small smile touches my lips and I feel like a kid again. Suddenly, I want to go, to be there with Spock and Uhura, Kirk and McCoy; and in that second, no matter what else in happening in the world, I fall head-over-heels into the black.

Mission: Impossible

Another update!

Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters. All original characters and creative content belong to me.

A/N: A tribute to the gorgeous Peter Graves.

The title is from a line spoken by Phelps in the episode “The Decoy.”

No Wrong Time to Love

Summary: Jim and Dana are adrift in a drug runner’s boat.


Phelps slowly regained consciousness. His last memory before Chatalan brained him with a pipe wrench was of Dana yelling his name, then the sound of gunfire.

He kept his body limp, his eyes closed and his breath even.

He could smell the hot salt of the ocean and the scent that rose from his own body. The hollow boom of waves breaking against the hull sounded in his ears. He heard the irregular rhythm of metal against metal, clanking out of time with the rocking of the boat. He listened for his captors. He heard pings and knocks and silence--the sounds of abandonment.

He squeezed his eyes shut then opened them wide, trying to think around the pounding in his head. He lay on a hard, narrow bunk. His mouth was sour and he reopened a cut in the corner of his mouth when he licked his lips. He winced and rolled his shoulders. His wrists were bound in metal cuffs above his head and the skin on the insides of his forearms itched and crackled with dried blood. He was desperately thirsty.

There was a warm weight pressed against his body. He craned his neck and looked down. Dana stretched out cruciform on top of him, her wrists tied to a rope looped beneath the bunk. Her tangled hair obscured her face but he could see that she was also gagged with a dirty kerchief. He felt her heart beat against his ribs. He closed his eyes briefly in relief.

“You’re awake,” he said softly.

She nodded against his chest.

“Are they gone?” he asked.

Dana shrugged her shoulders and made a noncommittal movement with her head.

“Can you move?”

She lifted her head and looked up at him. Her eyes were wide but not frightened. She nodded again.

“Slide up. Let’s see if I can remove the gag.”

She scooted up his body but couldn’t reach his fingers.

“Ok,” he said. “Come down here.”

She bent her head to his and he gripped the gag with his teeth. He dragged the gag from her mouth. She rested her forehead against his, gasping for air.

“Oh, god,” she said. She pulled back and looked at him. “That kerchief was disgusting. I saw Segovia use it wipe the sweat from behind his ears.”

Jim grinned. “Then I won’t tell you what I saw him using it for,” he said.

“Jim—.” She swallowed convulsively.

“Just kidding,” he said quickly.

She blinked in surprise. “You’re making jokes? At a time like this?” she said.

“How long was I out?” he asked.

“You’ve been in and out for about fifteen hours,” she said.

“Did I--?”

“No. You didn’t talk. They had no intention of interrogating either of us. They executed Solinski, tied me to your bunk and locked us in. They were…” She paused. “They were coming back for me about an hour later, when something happened. There was a lot of yelling and gunfire and then nothing. There was someone moaning on the other side of the door, but that stopped after a couple of hours.”

“They shot each other up,” said Phelps. “Arguing about the money.”

“I think so,” she said. She didn’t have to tell him that they were also fighting about who would get the first turn with her.

He looked up at his hands. He was cuffed to a ring bolted into the wall. His right hand was bluish and puffy. He tugged on the cuffs, watching the bolts. They were securely welded to the bulkhead.

“Shit,” he muttered.

Dana raised both brows.

Jim looked at her face. “What?” he asked.

“You never curse.”

“Yes, I do. Can we just try to get out of here, Dana?”

“It might be easier to try to loosen these ropes. I’ve been working on it for the last few hours. Stop twisting.” She pointed at his right hand with her chin. “You’re going to lose that if you keep pulling on those cuffs.”

“Right. Maybe we could—.” He started shifting around beneath her.

“Mr. Phelps.”


“The best way to help me is for you to be still.”

“Oh. Ok,” he said. He glanced around the room. “When you get free, we can use the bolt cutters those geniuses left by the door.”

“They didn’t think we’d have an opportunity to use them,” Dana said.

They gazed at each other for a long moment.

In their line of work, every job was essentially a suicide mission. When Jim and Dana missed the rendezvous point, their team would simply leave without them. There would be no rescue mission, no official search. The Secretary would disavow any knowledge of their actions. Phelps occasionally went after his people, calling it a “back-up plan” when he debriefed the Secretary; but this time, they were on their own. Paris was gone. No one knew where. Barney and Willie were not in the need-to-know for this mission.

They would be disavowed by now. They were ghosts; they didn’t exist. No one was coming for them.


~~The Boat

“Well, get started, Miss. Lambert,” said Jim.

Dana had been tied across his body with her arms hugging the bunk. She twisted her wrists this way and that, trying to coax the rope into giving more. Jim watched her as she worked at the ropes. Grease smudged her forehead and her hair fell in sweaty strings around her face. There was a spray of freckles across her nose. She rested her chin on his chest.

Dana was a beautiful woman--one of the many reasons Phelps chose her for his team. A beautiful woman made for an excellent decoy, a trick he learned from the Russians. The KGB was not squeamish about using sex and drugs to get what they needed—techniques frowned upon at the time by the provincial United States government. J. Edgar Hoover found those techniques particularly distasteful and felt them to be beneath his army of well-groomed, cookie-cutter pretty boys. When the Secretary asked Hoover to put his best man on a special assignment, Hoover selected Jim Phelps, the prettiest boy of all. Phelps executed his mission so well that the Secretary decided to keep him. Hoover was livid. He threatened all manner of dirty business in an effort to get Phelps back--until the Oval Office stepped in. The Attorney General had pushed back his thick hair with two fingers and grinned with his big white teeth as he personally delivered Phelps’s transfer memo. “I’m sure you understand, Mr. Hoovah,” he said, in his New England drawl. “Phelps will be our man in Havana. The Secretary will be happy to answer any questions you might have about the new unit.” He paused, watching a girl from the typing pool pass by Hoover’s office door. “That is, if you care to ask him.”

Phelps never made it to Havana, but he spent a lot of time in Moscow pretending to be distracted by the beautiful women that the KGB threw at him, relieved to be away from Hoover’s avid stare. Napoleon Solo sent him a bottle of Dom with a note attached that read, “You owe me”.

Jim’s eyes lingered on Dana’s mouth then drifted down the strong column of her neck to the gap in her dirty coveralls. He could see the muscles that corded across her chest as she worked at the ropes. She’d been a ballerina and was still lean and strong.

“I don’t want to think about what might be under this bunk,” she said.

Jim’s eyes snapped back to her face. “I beg your pardon?” he said.

“My fingers keep brushing against something damp and…fuzzy. Judging from the smell in here, it could be any number of things.”

“I can’t smell anything but you,” said Jim.

“You aren’t exactly smelling like a rose either, sir,” she said.

“I didn’t say you smelled bad, Dana.”


“No. You smell terrible.”

She stared at him in disbelief. “I can’t believe you said that—wait. What just happened here?” She held up her left hand, freed from the rope. She laughed. “I was so busy trying to get my right hand free that I didn’t realize that they simply wound the rope around my left wrist.” She propped herself on his chest and examined the knotted rope on her right wrist. “See. Look at this. Chatalan was Peruvian. If I’m not mistaken this is a—.”

“Dana,” interrupted Phelps. “You don’t weigh very much, and I could actually be quite comfortable lying here for several more hours with you on top of me.”


“I can’t feel my hand,” he said.

“Oh! I’m so sorry. I’ll get the bolt cutters.” She got the bolt cutters and cut him free.

He stood, slowly lowered his shoulders and twisted the kinks from his lower back. Dana took his hand and messaged it.

“I think it’ll be ok,” she said. “It’s already warming up. We’ve got to clean those wounds on your wrists, though.”

“That can wait,” said Phelps, gently removing his hand from hers. “We need to make sure the boat’s abandoned and then figure out where we are.”

Phelps went to the door and was unsurprised to find it unlocked. Their captors had planned to kill them quickly. No reason to lock the door. He opened it and peered into the warm gloom of the corridor. There was a body sprawled over the raised threshold of the next hatch. His eyes on the body, Phelps silently counted off two minutes then stepped into the corridor. Dana followed, sidestepping behind him, guarding their back.

Phelps looked down at the man.

They could see the lividity pooling on the backs of his slightly bloated arms and flies crawled across his open eyes. A faint odor like rotten eggs and decaying fruit tainted the air.

“He’s dead,” Jim said.

“Yeah, I’d say so,” said Dana. She nudged the dead man with her toe. “Segovia. The last man standing. He gagged me after I spit in his face.”

Phelps stepped over Segovia and continued down the corridor. They searched the rooms on that deck and then made their way down to engineering. The engineer draped across a rail, his throat cut. Phelps quickly inspected the engine.

“A new engine on an old boat,” he said. “Good for drug runners.”

“Good for us,” said Dana. “And look. The diesel stores are a little more than half full. About twenty-five hundred miles in good weather. Assuming they were full when we left port, we can turn back and get reasonably close to the coast. We can’t have drifted too far in fifteen hours.”

“Let’s clear all the decks first,” said Phelps.

They searched the boat, checking crew quarters, closets, nooks and any other possible hiding place. They found only live rats and dead men. They used engine grease to record the fingerprints of the dead then rolled the bodies overboard.

Dana carefully sealed the print cards in a plastic pouch. “Solinski, Segovia, Chatalan, Paolo and Cartagena. May god have mercy on their souls,” she said.

Jim’s eyes were indifferent as he watched sharks efficiently disembowel Segovia.

Phelps sent Dana down to check the engine while he took stock of their food and water stores. The galley was full of canned bacon and hams, rice, black beans, mixed vegetables, orange juice, beer and powdered milk. There was also a forty pound sack of coffee beans and a large, shiny espresso machine. He had to hand it to Solinski. He had his priorities straight. Jim found bleach and a bucket and set to cleaning up the blood. After only a little over twelve hours, the boat began to smell like an abattoir. Luckily, most of the shoot out occurred on the top deck. The blood came up in long, clotted sheets that Phelps shoveled over the side. He was scrubbing the head between the captain’s and first mate’s quarters when Dana came up from the engine room. She blinked in the chlorine fumes. She held a broken fuel pump in her hands.


~~All Dressed Up

“A shiny new Rolls Royce engine and a smashed fuel pump,” said Dana. “All dressed up and no place to go.”

“Can you fix it?”

“I’ll see what I can do. There is machinist’s equipment down there, but they also pulled the electrical systems in the generators. I’ll have to do it by hand. And the back-up batteries for the radio and radar are missing. Why didn’t they just sink the boat?”

“Segovia was paranoid and delusional. Who knows what he was thinking?” said Jim.

“We’re dead in the water.”

“Maybe not. The engine is new but the boat is old. If I find what I’m hoping to find in the life boat, there might be some life in us yet.”

“What are you talking about, Jim?”

“Stick with me, kid,” he said.

She trotted after him as he strode down the corridor. He’d peeled down his coveralls and tied the sleeves low around his waist. His torso shined with sweat and was streaked with greasy dirt. She watched the muscles of his lower back flex as he climbed the stairs to the top deck. She could see the farm boy in the breadth of his shoulders and in his hard triceps. The breeze tossed his hair across his forehead when he turned to wait for her to catch up, his long lashes shading his blue eyes as he looked down at her. Jim Phelps was an angel-faced assassin, a one-man coup d’état; but in spite of his old-world manners and his cold-eyed skill with a long-range rifle, Dana thought that there was an endearing boyishness about him. Even as she knew him for what he really was, she felt a tug in her heart when he ran a hand through his hair. She understood Hoover’s obsession.

“You need a haircut,” she said.

Phelps frowned then grinned and looked away. He turned and reached down into a life boat that hung off the gunwale. “These old life boats were sometimes equipped with hand-cranked radios from the war. They don’t have much of a range but maybe we--.”

“Could use it to power the ship’s radio,” she finished for him.

“Yeah,” he chuckled.

“Stick with me, kid,” she said and winked.

“As long as I can stay upwind.”

“Hey! What is it with you? At least I don’t smell like a dead cow.”


“Because I’m a girl, I can’t sweat? That engine room’s about a hundred and ten degrees.”

Jim struggled to keep a straight face.

“Oh, ha ha,” she said. “I don’t know, Jim. That knock on your head…”

“Let’s see if we can power up the radio,” he said.

In the small bridge copula, Jim lay on his back beneath the radio console while Dana dismantled the crank radio. A panel was removed from the casing, exposing the wiring. Jim held a small flashlight between his teeth as he examined the circuit boards.

“Get out,” said Jim.

Dan turned to him with a screwdriver in her hand. “What?”

“Move, Dana! Now,” he shouted. He rolled to his feet and launched himself at her, propelling them both out the door. They tumbled onto the deck. Jim hurled her into the life boat with one push to the small of her back then leapt in after, covering his head with his arms and curling his body around hers.

The blast wasn’t as big as he expected but glass from the copula rained down on his bare back. After several minutes, he pushed up and looked over the gunwale at the ruined bridge. The windows were blown out and the door hung off its hinges. Smoke rose from the radio console.

“Damn,” he said.

“Is it bad?” asked Dana.

He looked down at her. “Bad enough,” he said.


~~Blood and Glass

Jim climbed out of the lifeboat. He picked up a gaff from the deck and walked toward the copula.

“Oh my god, Jim,” Dana cried.

He spun with the gaff raised, looking around wildly. “What? What is it?”

“Your back is bleeding.” She climbed out of the lifeboat and turned him with a hand on his shoulder. “Jesus,” she said, gently probing with her fingertips.

Jim shrugged. “Just a little glass. We’ll get it later.”

“We’ll get it now.”


“Mr. Phelps,” she said, frowning severely.

“Can I at least make sure nothing else is going to blow up in there?”

“If it was going to blow, it would have. I’ll go find some first aid. Don’t you do anything else.”

“Yes, doctor,” he said, but when she came up from below, he was sweeping up broken glass and debris, a bent cigarette clamped between his lips. Runnels of blood striped his back.

“Jim,” she sighed.

“It doesn’t hurt.”

“That’s not a good sign. Sit down and let me take a look.”

He sat on a crate and presented his back to her. His skin was stippled with pieces of glass.

“I can’t see a thing under all this dirt and blood,” she said. “Come on. Let’s go shower.”

“Um, I think I can--,” he started.

“You’re not turning old lady on me?”

“No.” He cleared his throat. “No,” he said again.

“Ok, then.” She turned and walked to the stairs that led below. When she noticed that he wasn’t following, she stopped. “Contrary to legend, Jim, you don’t have eyes in the back of your head. You can’t get that glass out by yourself. This is the easiest way to do it. We can’t risk an infection setting in.”

“Yeah. Yes, I know. I’m coming.” He walked over to her.

“It’s not like I haven’t seen a naked man before.”

“I know. I mean, I know,” he said, looking away. “We’re on the job. Think of it that way.”

“I am.”

“Me, too. Let’s go.” He didn’t move.

“After you,” she said.

“Right,” he said.

When they got to the captain’s quarters, he stopped. “The head between the captain’s and first mate’s cabin was relatively clean,” he said. “I scrubbed it down. I hope you don’t mind sharing. Sharing the bathroom, not the quarters, I mean.”

“I don’t mind,” she said. “I’ll take the captain’s cabin.”

“Oh, I wanted—fine. I’ll take the mate’s.”

She brushed by him and peered into the bathroom. “Wow. You really did clean it.” She reached into the shower and turned on the spigot. Water sprayed forcefully from a fixture in the ceiling. She tested the water with her fingers. “It’s only a little salty and it’s pretty warm. Must be from that tank on the deck.” She turned to him with her hands on her hips.

“Right,” Jim said. “Distilled seawater. These old long-haul ships…”. He trailed off.

Dana rolled her eyes. “How about this. I’ll go first,” she said. She began unfastening her coverall. When she pushed it off her shoulders, Phelps turned his back.

She grinned and stepped into the shower. For some reason, there was only brown surgical wash for both soap and shampoo. She lathered up quickly and scrubbed her scalp and skin with her fingernails. “Jim, you’re going to have to get in here with me sooner or later.”

“No, ok, right. Let me know when you’re uh, ready.”

“I’m ready now,” she said.

“Right,” said Phelps with his back to her. He slowly untied the sleeves from around his waist. He turned his body to the side, hooked his thumbs in the waistband and pushed the coverall down his hips. He stepped out of them. “I didn’t realize those were so dirty.”

“Jim, get in the goddamn shower.”

He stepped in and faced her. He concentrated on keeping his eyes on her forehead. He pressed his lips together and nodded once.

“You get the front, I’ll get the back,” she said.

“Oh. Of course,” he stammered, turning quickly. He ducked his head under the spray of tepid water. Dirt and blood ran from his hair. He poured some soap into his palm and handed the bottle to her.

“Don’t move,” she said. “Most of the glass is just rinsing off and the pieces are small enough to wash down the drain, but I don’t want us to cut our feet.”


“This might sting a little.”

“It doesn’t hurt. I told you before.”

She squirted soap on his back.

“Ahh!” he yelled, squeezing his shoulder blades together.

“I told you not to move.”

“Son of a bitch.”

“I warned you,” she said. “It’ll stop stinging in a minute.”

“No it won’t,” he said.

“Tough guy,” she grinned. She pulled three fairly large pieces of glass out of his back but they hadn’t gone in deep and didn’t bleed much even with the water running on them. She massaged her fingers through his thick hair, loosening the dirt and smoothing out the tangles. Phelps sighed and his shoulders relaxed. He stood with his head down as she gently rubbed the brown foam into his cuts. She watched her hands circle his smooth skin and thought about how well his finely-tailored suits hid his powerful body. She had stolen an glance at his penis as he stepped into the shower. His pubic hair was thick and straight and dark blonde.

“It’s not fair,” she murmured.

“Hmm?” breathed Jim. Her hands felt good on his body.

“Men are born with all the things that women covet.”

“What’s that?”

“Beautiful skin, long eyelashes. Have you noticed that?”

“I don’t spend a lot of time looking at men that way.”

She used her thumbnail to dislodge a clot of blood on his side. He gasped and jerked away.

“Did that hurt?” she asked.


She scratched at his skin again. He flinched.

“Did that—Jim, are you ticklish?”

“No,” he snapped.

“The great Jim Phelps is ticklish. Did Hoover know?”

Phelps shuddered. “That’s not funny.”

“He never got over losing you, you know.”

“Are we done here?”

“Um.” She inspected his back. “Yes. A couple of these need bandages.”

“Fine,” said Phelps. He turned and pushed her out of the shower stall.


~First Watch

When Jim emerged from his shower, he peeked into the captain’s cabin. Dana was cutting down the legs on a pair of denim pants. She wore a man’s white strap undershirt and nothing else. A soft breath of pubic hair peeked from beneath the hem of the shirt as she bent over the bed. Phelps felt a stirring in his genitals.

“There’s a crate full of these,” Dana said over her shoulder.

Phelps jerked back. He crossed into the mate’s cabin with his hands cupped over his sex, even though she couldn’t see him. There was a pair of denim pants and an undershirt on the bunk.

“I put a pair on your bunk,” Dana yelled from the captain’s cabin. “I’m pretty sure that I picked a pair that fits, now that I don’t have to guess at your size.”

Phelps pulled on the pants. The legs were a bit short and the waist a bit wide, but the inseam was right. He frowned and felt his face grow hot. His cock thickened again. This was ridiculous. He was old enough to be her father. In fact, he knew her father.

“Let me bandage those cuts before you put on a shirt.”

Phelps jumped. “You could give a guy a little warning,” he said, a little too loudly.

“Sorry,” she said, blinking up at him. She held a box of bandages in her hands. A curl of damp hair was stuck to her cheek.

Jim blew air out his pursed lips. “Look, I’m tired and I’m hungry and we still have a lot to do,” he said.


He noticed for the first time the dark circles under her eyes. She’d been through as much as he in the last two days. He reached out and tucked the curl of hair behind her ear.

“Are you hungry?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“Let’s finish securing the boat then I’ll make dinner. Sound okay?”

“Sounds good.”

“Let’s get to it,” he said.

“Wait,” she said. She motioned with the box of bandages. “Your back.”

He stood patiently while she taped gauze on the worst of the cuts on his back and around his wrists.

“There you go,” she said.

“Thanks, Dana,” he said. “That actually does feel better.”

They searched the boat again, this time looking for booby traps. They found no traps but they did find an automatic rifle with a full clip and three WWII-era hand grenades.

Jim pointed to the ruined copula. “Good thing the wheel is on the deck. At least we’ll be able to steer if we manage to get the boat going.”

Dana gazed out at the horizon. The sunset was sudden and bloody. The breeze cooled and she shivered even though she wasn’t chilled.

“Maybe someone was coming back,” she said. She turned to Jim. “That’s why the sabotage. They didn’t sink the boat, just hobbled it.”

“I thought about that,” said Jim. “We already dropped the drugs. No one’s waiting for Solinski. Segovia and the rest of them? Not the kind of men with a lot of friends and family. Everyone was supposed to take their cut and run--. What is it?” he asked.

She was watching him with a small smile. “That “explaining things” thing,” she said.

“I’m sorry. Barney told me once that even my casual phone calls sound like debriefings.”

“It’s ok. It’s…you.”

“We’ll fix the engine, Dana. I’ll get us out of here.”

She nodded. “I know,” she said.

The end of the daylight was a shimmering red line on the black edge of the ocean when Jim came up from the galley with their dinner. He cooked rice and black beans seasoned with chunks of ham and chilies, with a side of canned peaches. They had both showered again—this time, separately. The breeze was light and cool and the boat rose and fell gently with the rolling waves. Jim was fairly sure that no one was returning to salvage the ship but he didn’t want to take any chances. They ate without light, at a small table he set on the deck. Jim’s hair was bright, even in the dark.

Dana chuckled. Jim looked at her curiously, chewing his food.

“Your hair,” she said. “They could probably see it from space.”

He ducked his head. “How’s your dinner?” he asked.

“It’s good. Where’d you learn to cook?” she asked casually.

Jim didn’t answer immediately, chewing, swallowing and pushing his food around with his fork. Jim rarely talked about himself. Dana waited, holding her breath, hoping she hadn’t spooked him.

He shrugged with a tilt of his head. “There was some guy who was supposed to be a genius doing his post doc at MIT,” he said, finally.

“Barney,” she said.

“Yes, Barney. Hoover was very interested in his work. So were the Russians,” he said. “I was assigned to babysit Barney while he finished his project.” Jim laughed. “Barney was fascinated with “spies”, as he called us. He made every Russian tail on him and used to lose them—and us—all the time, just for kicks. How does the only black man on a city express bus to MIT fade two teams? I never figured it out and he never told me. Anyway. Thanksgiving rolled around and he went home to visit his family. He took pity on me sitting out in the cold in front of the house and invited me in. When I said no, his mother came out and threatened to have the entire family cram into the car and have Thanksgiving dinner there. There was nothing I could do. She even fed the KGB agents.”

“You’re kidding,” laughed Dana.

“I’m not kidding. I held a gun on them while she brought out a tray of turkey sandwiches and pie to their car. Anyway, it was easier to keep an eye on Barney by being his friend so I got to know his family, too. They had this huge kitchen and I could watch the front, side and back of the house from there. I was always under foot so his mother put me to work and taught me how to cook along the way. I went from peeling potatoes to cooking entire meals while she read a magazine with her feet up. “Good looks can only take you so far, James”, she would say. “Women love a man who is not useless in the kitchen”.”

“She’s right,” said Dana.

“It’s worked for me a little bit,” he said.

“That’s probably the understatement of the year.”

Jim cleared his throat and wiped his mouth with his napkin. “I’ll take the first watch,” he said.


“Dana, I don’t think--.”

She held up a hand. “I was just going to say, I’ll take the first watch. You have a concussion. You’re exhausted and you’ve lost a lot of blood.”

He studied her face. “Ok,” he said.

“No argument?” she asked, surprised.

He stood and began to clear the table. “I’m tired,” he said. “Wake me in two hours.”

“Sure,” she said, fully intending to let him sleep for as long as she could get away with it. “Leave the dishes. I’ll get them.”

“Wash them, don’t leave them in the sink,” he said. “There are rats.”

“I will.”

He looked out at the ocean. The last of the light had drained from the West. There was no moon. “It’s dark,” he said.

“I’ll be ok, Jim. I’ll wake you at the first sign of anything.”

“Two hours,” he said.

“Sure thing.” She watched him walk to the hatch. He rolled his shoulders and yawned. She followed with their dinner dishes. She glanced in his cabin as she returned to the deck and he was stretched out on the bunk, ankles crossed and hands folded neatly on his chest.



Dana slowly patrolled the boat, staring out at the flat black water, the rifle slung over her shoulder. It was difficult to gage distance on the ocean without instruments and the stars gave little illumination, but she judged the visibility to be about a half mile. They would have some time to prepare to defend themselves should another boat approach. Dana checked the rifle’s load and the grenade clipped to her belt loop for the thousandth time. She felt sure that she would see or hear any craft that came upon them in the night. At any rate, it was dark and they were running silent. Maybe they would go undetected if any bad guys showed up. Plan A was to slip over the side into the lifeboat and paddle quietly away in the dark; but after her experience with Solinski and Segovia, Dana decided to throw the grenade first, ask questions later.

She picked up her pace as she rounded the stern. She peered into the dark. Dolphins fed on phosphorescent fish a hundred yards off the port side of the boat.

“At least I know there’s no submarine,” she whispered.

She climbed the sawed-off main mast to the tiny crow’s nest. A canvas sail still hung in a rotted furl beneath it. Her view—such as it was—was 360 degrees, eight feet above the deck. The slight breeze alternated between cool and warm, damp and dry. The stars swirled above her. She felt as if she were flying.

She thought about Paris and their brief but hotly sexual affair. He called her “Mouse” and teased her gently until she fell into bed with him. She didn’t love him--even if he’d let her-- but she recalled how oddly beautiful he was, sitting naked in a chair, his lean body bathed in a spill of moonlight, lightly strumming his guitar, eyes gazing out the window. “Paris, come back to bed,” she’d called softly. “Shh,” he said, staring out the window. Later that night, he held her trembling body murmured in her ear a foreign language she didn’t understand. His cock was hard and hot inside her and she knew it was over. A year later, he refused a contract and that was the last anyone saw of him.

Dana was more disappointed than sad when her relationship with Paris ended. They coped with stress in the same way and it was nice to have a relationship that was safe, uncomplicated and physically gratifying. She had yet to find a suitable replacement. As much as they respected her as an agent, Barney and Willie thought of her as a younger sister. Even if she had been attracted to either one, she was not about to sleep her way through the team.

And for other reasons too numerous to name, Jim Phelps was simply not an option.

She was an agent with Bureau for five years and was beginning to get bored with babysitting diplomats’ wives and doing undercover ops at banks when she received the invitation from Phelps. The invitation came in a plain envelope that contained a single sheet of paper with an expensive watermark, on which was typed an address and time for that evening. She held it in her hands and stared at it with a frown. She looked up in confusion at the man who delivered it.

“You have to decide tonight if you’re in or out.”

“Do you know who--?” she began. But Illya Kuryakin had already walked away.

Phelps kept no office at HQ—since IMF was not supposed to exist—and ran mission briefings from his home in a towering block of upscale but anonymous condominiums. When she arrived, Barney greeted her warmly and escorted her to that vast, masculine living room. She could smell the pine logs burning in the fireplace and the aroma of meat roasted in red wine. A gigantic man in an Armani suit held a small plate and picked delicately at something chocolate with a fork. Another man sat in an armchair swirling brandy in a snifter. It was obvious Dana had not been invited to dinner. Barney introduced Phelps last. Phelps stood in front of a glass board, lighting a cigarette. His head was tilted to the side and he cupped the flame like a soldier in a foxhole. His blue eyes flickered over her and she felt like she’d been blasted with heat from an open oven door. All of the air left her lungs. Phelps flipped his lighter closed and continued with the briefing. She spent a good part of the evening trying to regain her composure. At the end of the briefing, he turned to her. “Miss Lambert?” was all he said. Dana simply nodded in the affirmative and she was in. This time, Hoover stayed out of it.

She quickly developed off duty friendships with the others but not with Phelps. His treatment of her was always formal and proper. She felt the distance he placed between them, even when the mission required they pretend to be lovers. Now they were on this boat, far away from everything and all she wanted was for him to fold her into his arms.

Dana heard a small sound below her. She quietly clicked off the rifle’s safety.

“I said two hours, Dana,” said Phelps. He looked up at her in the dark.

“He switched places with the bus driver,” said Dana.


“How does the only black man on a city express bus to MIT fade two teams?”

“I can’t believe I never thought of the driver.”

“Not the only black man on the bus.”

“Let that be a lesson to me.”


“Get some sleep, Dana,” said Phelps.



Phelps used his turn at watch to quietly do chores around the boat. He was still tired, bone weary, in fact. His head ached and the cuts on his back itched terribly. He’d catch a nap in the afternoon if things looked quiet.

He thought about his team. Specifically, he thought about Dana. He knew about her affair with Paris. He didn’t give it a second thought at the time. But now, two years later, he found himself troubled.

While he maintained strict professional boundaries between himself and his staff, Phelps had no prohibitions against members of his staff becoming involved. No one knew better than your team what it meant to be on the job. Spooks fucked like rabbits from the sheer adrenaline afterburn of nearly getting killed on a somewhat regular basis. Even Jim had a go-to girl over at UNCLE. The sex was not a thing that required deep analysis. It was pure, life-affirming release, usually detached from emotion.

Emotional detachment was something he expected from Paris. Paris was a stone patriot--absolutely loyal to the service, loyal to Phelps and loyal to the country—but he was also a cold-blooded bastard and would slit Phelps’s throat on order from the Secretary. Paris ended things cleanly—no regrets, no lingering romantic feelings. What surprised Phelps was that Dana just as easily shrugged it off. At the beginning of the affair, he thought he might have to do some damage control when Paris inevitably ended it. But Dana was fine. There was no change in her performance and she even seemed ambivalent about Paris’s sudden disappearance.

Phelps knew the impact he had on women. His good looks were a fact of his life. He noted Dana’s reaction to him at that first briefing but she seemed to recover quickly. She never once acted inappropriately towards him. She took a good look at him, dealt with it and moved on. Truth be told, it bruised his ego a little.

“Get over yourself, gorgeous,” Barney had said. “Not every woman you meet wants you.”

It made Dana all the more attractive to him.

He shook his head. “In another life,” he muttered to himself.

Phelps poured a bucket of black water overboard. He set the mop against the gunwale to dry and watched the sky brighten rapidly in the east. The day before, he’d dropped floaters over the side to see if they’d catch a current. Unfortunately, they gathered on the boat’s port side and bobbed aimlessly in the slight swells. It was too much to hope that they were on or near a stream. If they couldn’t get the engines working, the boat would drift in the direction the waves pushed her--hopefully toward land. But Phelps had not seen a single bird, not even an albatross. They were very far from land.



He bent over the side to pull up the net of beer and canned milk he had lowered twenty feet underwater to chill at the beginning of his watch.. He fished out a can of milk. It was quite cold. He didn’t feel like cooking and there was a case of muesli in the stores. Cold cereal and a freshly ground espresso would do for breakfast. A dolphin and her calf watched curiously as he lowered the net back into the water. The calf tried to follow the net but his mother hustled him away. Phelps took a last glance out at the sea and went below. He peeked in at Dana. She sprawled on her back in the captain’s bunk with one hand under the pillow and the other curled against her cheek.

Phelps stepped inside the dark cabin. Dana’s jeans scrunched in a pile on the floor. He picked them up and held them folded over his arm. He let his eyes roam over her. She wore one of the strap undershirts that she cut off at the waist. Her breasts were flat against her chest and he could see the dark circles of her nipples through the thin fabric. The coverlet was draped across her hips and the muscles in her abdomen flexed and relaxed with the rise and fall of her breath. Her exposed skin was pale and lightly freckled. He knew she was bare beneath the blanket. He dragged his eyes and his thoughts away from that image.

He reached out to wake her and nearly lost his hand.

Dana’s arm whipped out and sliced the air with a thin filleting knife and would’ve done Phelps serious damage had he not had her jeans folded over his forearm. Phelps stepped inside her reach and blocked her arm coming back to stab his thigh before she could sever his femoral artery. She sat up and clocked him a good one in the chin with a left jab. She was strong for a woman her size. She was also agile and quick. That made her lethal. She flexed her wrist and nicked him in the shoulder with the knife. He had his hands full and she would gut him if he didn’t do something fast.

He dropped himself full length on top of her.

True to her training, she hadn’t made a sound; but when he covered her with his body, her struggle turned desperate and she bucked and twisted wildly under him. Her free arm thudded uselessly against his back. The coverlet had slipped off and he shoved his knee between her thighs, pinning her. It was then that he heard her whimper softly.

“Dana,” said Phelps. He captured her flailing arm and pinned it over her head. “It’s me. It’s Jim. Stop. Calm down. It’s just me.”

“Let me up,” she panted.

“Are you awake?”

“Yes. Let me go.”

Phelps rolled off of her and lay on his side.

Dana scrambled off the bed. “Jesus, Jim,” she said. “I could’ve killed you.”

“I’m sorry,” said Phelps. He was still, his eyes on the knife she continued to grip tightly.

“You were on top of me. I thought they’d come back. I -- I thought--,” she pressed the back of her hand against her mouth.

Jim rose slowly from the bunk. “I’m sorry.” He took her hand and gently pried her fingers from the knife’s handle.

“What were you--.”

“Breakfast,” said Phelps. “I was waking you for breakfast.”

She blinked at him in the gloom. Her lips trembled and she laughed out a sob. “Breakfast?” she said.

He shrugged sheepishly and she laughed again. He watched her carefully. She seemed to be holding her breath.

“It’s ok to fall apart Dana,” he said quietly.

Her whole body started to shake and she pressed the flat of her fingers to her lips. Her eyes filled and spilled over. She gave a negative shake of her head. “No. I’m ok,” she said. She swiped the tears and hair off her face. She put her hands on her hips and nodded. “You just scared me a little. I’m ok.”

“Look at me, Dana.”

She frowned. “No. I’m fine. I don’t need you to--.” She paused and looked away.

“Talk,” said Phelps. “Let it out.”

“Segovia, told me--. He put his filthy hands on me and told me what he was going to do to me after you were dead.” She pressed her lips together and inhaled deeply. “He said they would all--. All of them.”

Phelps reached out and cupped the back of her neck with his hand. “Yeah, ok,” he said. “Segovia is dead. They’re all dead. It’s over, baby.”

Dana’s face crumpled and she started to cry. He pulled her to him and she sagged against his chest. He closed his eyes against the thought of what Segovia and his men might have done to her had they not killed each other first. Dana trembled violently in his arms as if she’d read his mind.

Phelps had been through this with each of his team. They all fell apart in one way or another occasionally. It didn’t even have to be a particularly dangerous mission to tip someone over the edge. The cumulative effects of stress would become too much to hold and it all came spilling out. It was the only time Barney consumed alcohol. He’d sit with Jim at his place and they’d silently drink into the early hours of morning, passing a bottle of Scotch back and forth between them until it was empty. Willie headed for the seedy bars near the docks where he was guaranteed to find a brawl he could jump into. Rollin Hand needed a big meal with a lot of wine and a woman with large breasts. Cinnamon would disappear for a day or two then come back as cool, unruffled and self-contained as she always was. Jim ran on the beach until his legs gave out.

Dana’s sobs slowed and he felt her arms come around his waist. He leaned back and held her face in his hands. He smoothed her hair back.

“Better?” he asked

“No, but yeah,” she said.

“I should’ve just yelled from the door or thrown a shoe at you or something,” he said.

Dana smiled and ducked her head. She looked down at herself.

“I’m naked,” she said, tugging the undershirt down.

“I’ve seen a naked woman before.”

“I think I’ll sleep in my clothes until we get off this boat.”

“Good idea,” said Jim. “Do you feel up to breakfast?”

She nodded, watching him silently.

“See you topside,” he said.


~A Weapon of War

They spent the day working on the boat. The radio was a total loss but Dana thought she had what she needed to fix the fuel pump. She explained everything she was doing as she dismantled and matched some spare parts she found. Phelps was disinterested almost immediately; but he enjoyed watching the breeze stroke her hair. He eventually fell asleep in a hammock and shade he fashioned from sheets as she hand-filed piston bores. The sun was low in the sky when he finally woke.

His eyes fluttered open and he saw Dana sitting in the captain’s chair behind the wheel.

“You’re so still and quiet when you sleep,” she said.

“Please stop letting me sleep so long,” he said, making no move to get out of the hammock.

“Tough luck, Mr. Concussion Head. Besides, I don’t mess with people while they’re sleeping.

“Are you feeling better?” he asked.

“Yes, actually. Working with my hands has always been therapeutic for me.”

She pushed him with her foot and the hammock swayed gently.

“You ever try to have sex in a hammock?” she asked, grinning.

He watched her with his eyes half-closed. “What’s for dinner?” he asked.

Dana shrugged. “That’s your department,” she said.

“You can’t cook?”

“Nope. And I don’t want to learn. But I did catch some fish.” She pointed to a large plastic bucket. “Tuna, I think.”

Phelps struggled out of the hammock. He walked over and peered into the bucket. Three large fish fought for space within its confines.

“You’ve been busy,” he said.

“Not really. The dolphins herded them alongside the boat and I scooped them up.”

“Give me a minute to wake up,” said Phelps. “I’ll cook.”

He yawned and stretched and scrubbed his fingers through his hair, flexing his shoulders and rolling his neck. The wind blew his hair into his eyes and his navel peeked out from beneath his shirt when he raised his arms above his head. He turned and caught her staring.

“What is it?” he asked, dropping his arms.

“IMF used to give out cyanide capsules.”

Phelps kept his face expressionless. “Used to. Yes,” he said, facing her squarely.

“Did you have one?”

Phelps nodded once.

“Would you have taken it?”

“Came close a couple of times.”

“I would’ve slit my own throat before I let Segovia--.” She stopped and bit down on her lower lip.

Rape was a weapon of war and torture. Always was, always will be. Phelps had nearly been a victim himself when a struggle in a dark Moscow alley turned into…something else. Phelps recalled how savagely he had fought and how he bashed the other man’s head into the bricks until his skull was mush.

“You’re safe now,” he said.


She continued staring at him--so intently, that he started to get uncomfortable.

“What are you staring at?” he asked

“Will you do something for me?” she asked.

“Anything. You know that.”

“I need to wash Segovia away,” she said.

“He’s gone, Dana. You saw. He’s shark chum.”

“That’s not what I mean. I need him out of my head.”

“There’s some pretty good rum in the stores but I don’t think we should--.”

Dana held up her hand. “I don’t want to get drunk, Jim,” she said.

“I don’t understand.”

“I need the memory of his hands on my body gone. I need to replace it with something else. Something good.”

“Dana, you have to tell me what you’re asking,” said Phelps. He knew what she was asking. He also knew that he might not be able to talk himself out of it.

She stood and walked over to him. She rested her hands on his hips. “I need you to make love to me, Jim.”

“You’re still in shock,” he said softly.

“Probably,” said Dana.

“You just think you want that.”

“I’m pretty good at knowing what I need.”

“The feeling will pass.”

“I know what you’re thinking, Jim. I know you’ve had a lot of practice with saying no to this.”

He did occasionally have to reject advances from members of his staff. Most of them got past it, even laughed about it. Some didn’t and he rotated them off the team.

“I’m not what you want, Dana. You need time. And you need to get off this boat,” he said.

She stepped into his body and wrapped her arms around his neck. He let her kiss him but kept his arms at his sides. He had to admit that it was a good kiss. She ran her fingers into his hair and stood on her toes to press her hips hard against his.

“You don’t know what I need. You’ve never been threatened with rape.”

His eyes blinked away from Dana’s.

She raised both brows. “Really,” she said.

Phelps was silent.

“What did you do after?” she asked.

“I went back to my room and burned myself in the shower for an hour.”

“Then what?”

“Nothing.” He looked away again.

“You’re lying,” she said.

“I called a friend. Look, Dana. It’s not the same,” he said.

“It is the same, Jim. And this is me calling a friend. You need it as much as I do.”

“It’s absolutely the wrong time for this, Dana.”

“We could die tomorrow.”

“I’m old enough to be your father.”

“Do you realize you haven’t actually said no?”

“I just don’t want to complicate things,” said Phelps.

“Actually, it’s pretty simple.”

Phelps took a small step back from her. “I’ll cook the fish and the rest of those plantains. How does that sound?” he said.

“Will you stop being Mr. Phelps,” she paused and looked him over. “For at least twenty minutes?”

“Twenty minutes? I’m not that old,” he said.

“All right, thirty minutes.”

“Insulting my manhood is not going to get me in the sack.”

Dana responded by pulling her shirt over her head and dropping it on the deck.

“That’s not going to work either,” said Phelps.

She hooked her thumbs in the waist of her jeans and pushed them down. This was the first time he saw her naked body in full light. He exhaled softly through pursed lips.

“Ok,” he said. “That might work.”

“Always does,” said Dana.

“I can’t make you any promises, Dana.”

“I’m not asking.”

“Come here to me,” said Phelps.


The Prodigal Soul (1-6)

Nothing new. I'm just posting it all in one place.

*runs and hides*

Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters. I own them in my dreams. The creative content, plot, original characters belong to me.

The Prodigal Soul

A/N: Plak`matya is derived from the Vulcan words plak, meaning blood and matya, meaning feral animal. Vulcans do not claim what Terrans would call a ‘vampire’ in their mythology. Vulcans do not admit to much of a mythology at all.

Summary: Brotherhood, friendship, love and a vampire.


When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
lends the tongue vows.


I have shot mine arrow o'er the house,
And hurt my brother.

--William Shakespeare “Hamlet”



Sarek made his way from his meditation cell and down the narrow, curving staircase carved in the living rock of the mountain, trailing his fingertips along the stone wall, allowing his mind to drift as his bare feet found their way in the opaque dark, his meditation robe open and billowing behind his hard, naked body like a cape.

There was a groove worn smooth from millennia of feet down the center of the stairs. How many times in his impatient youth had he jumped the final eight steps to the landing? The last time, he’d been plucked out of the air by Maxon, the captain of his father’s palace guard. Maxon set him gently on his feet but had sternly reminded him of his position as son of T’Pau and first heir in the House of Skon. Later that week, Maxon collected Sarek from his music tutor’s studio in Shi’Kahr. Just before they were in sight of the castle, Maxon flipped the powerful flyer in a dizzying triple barrel-roll then leveled out, his face impassive, staring straight ahead as if nothing had happened.

Sarek smiled—and leapt into the air. A blur of movement in his peripheral vision startled him, throwing him off balance. He hit the landing and tumbled head over heels, ending flat on his back. He lay there for a moment, blinking.

“General, you do not possess the reflexes of your father,” he said.

“I ask forgivness, S’haile,” said Golan, stepping out of the deeper darkness at the foot of the stairs. “I am not as young as I used to be,” he said, inclining his head. He looked down at his lord and friend. “And neither are you,” he added. He held out his hand. “Stand, and unfold yourself,” he said.

“Long live the king,” answered Sarek with a wry huff. He gripped Golan’s wrist and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. “It is too early in the night for Hamlet, my old friend,” he said, dusting himself off. “I should think—.” Sarek looked up sharply at Golan’s utter stillness, noticing for the first time that the other man was dressed only in loose sleeping pants and that he held a dagger in his hand.

Golan stood with his eyes half closed, the pointed tips of his ears flexing minutely as he listened in the silent darkness. Finally, he looked at Sarek.

“What is it?” asked Sarek. He slowly fastened his robe.

“I am uncertain. I felt—I sensed a…presence.”

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark?”

Golan peered into the darkness then shrugged with the flick of one brow.
“Or perhaps a midsummer night’s dream,” he answered.

Sarek tipped his head at the thick curving blade of Golan’s dagger. “And that is the weapon of choice against fairies and shades?”

“I believed it necessary,” said Golan.

They gazed at each other in the darkness.

“The sensors?” asked Sarek.



“Sleeping soundly.” The sehlat would pick up anything the sensors missed.

“Most unusual,” said Sarek.

Golan made a noncommittal motion with his shoulder. “The light of day may lend a different perspective. In the meantime, permit me to escort you to your rooms.”

“As you wish.”

They walked down the hall in companionable silence, easy with each other away from the eyes of the Council and the Guard.

“What did you find so amusing on the stairway, Sarek?”

“I do not understand.”

“That dimple is hard to miss, even in the dark,” said Golan.

“Ah.” The dimple threatened to reappear. “I was thinking of your father and the last time I threw myself down those stairs.”

“My father often provides sufficient provocation to smile,” Golan said fondly. “It exasperates my mate no end that I have inherited his tendency toward humor. It was nearly my undoing as a young man in the pomp and circumstance of the Guard.” He glanced at Sarek. “I do see your son’s face in yours when you smile.”

“The only thing of me that is in my son. Of all things,” Sarek sighed, shaking his head. “My skin is dark. His is fair. My hair curls. His is straight. Eyes, nose, mouth, ears. If he did not bear so striking a resemblance to T’Pau, I would wonder if he were mine at all.”

“And I wonder that you do not mistake him for your mirror image,” said Golan.


“If you do not see then I cannot show you.”

“Golan, I am uncertain who is more cryptic: you or Amanda.”

“I am honored,” said Golan.

They stopped at the door leading to the suite of rooms that Sarek shared with his wife.

“I have activated the force field around your chamber windows. Please secure your door from within before you retire,” said Golan.

“You are that disturbed by this…phantom?”

“Until I am satisfied that it is only a phantom.”

“Whatever you think is necessary. Rest well, Golan.”

“Rest well, Sarek.”

Golan waited until he heard the low hum of the door seal. He stared into the darkness behind him and then up ahead. He gripped his dagger more firmly in his fist and circled back to his own chambers high in the castle keep. He did not rest well that night.


In the meditation cell, a tall figure seemed to resolve itself out of the very darkness. The figure stepped into the middle of the room and turned its face into the red honey glow of T’Khut streaming through narrow window cut into the castle wall. A breeze from the desert below blew through the window, rifled through lush, silken waves of dark hair and tickled across the back of a strong, elegant neck.

A sculpted mouth curled up at the corners. Inch-long fangs glinted above a sensual lower lip. A dimple appeared in the left cheek. The figure basked in the liquid light until a night bird called the coming of the day. The figure stepped back from the growing dawn.

It spoke, its voice a low, rich rumble, dark with grief:

“Now could I drink hot blood. And do such bitter business as the day would quake to look on.”

Casting a last, longing glance out at the desert, the figure turned and slipped through a long-forgotten doorway hidden in the stone wall.


~Chapter 1

Starfleet Headquarters

Admiral Nogura’s eyes drifted from her computer monitor after reading only a third of a report that scrolled slowly down the screen. Motley, her gigantic Irish wolfhound, grumbled and chuffed in his sleep, his big paws twitching as he chased Aldebaran hares in his dreams. She gazed out of her office window at the view of the girded underbelly of the Golden Gate Bridge. The day was overcast but sailboats and windsurfers bobbed and tacked across the frothy chop of the cold, gray bay. She’d refused the offer of a larger office with a view of the deck of the bridge and the hills of Marin beyond, preferring the solitude of the offices in Fort Point, crouched under the bridge like a troll.

She also liked the fog that rolled thickly against her windows and the nostalgic lowing of the old foghorn out on Alcatraz. In winter evenings, the colored lights of flitters, hoverbarges and the Golden Gate glowed and pulsed in the swirling fog, reminding her of the Nebula Nebek’nezzer--and of how much she missed being out in space.

She returned her attention to the report. She didn’t have to read the rest. Its content was familiar: the Enterprise returning from a mission after a successful first contact or the discovery of an unclaimed and uninhabited planet rich in natural resources--or limping proudly home, victorious, battered and painted in glory.

Nogura closed the report and pulled up a recent holostill of the Enterprise’s command clique getting yet another medal pinned to their chests. The captain and first officer stood side by side, achingly beautiful in their dress uniforms. The chief communications officer stood at attention in front of them; chin up and in dress heels, but still a full head shorter than Kirk. The chief engineer stood at Kirk’s left, stiff and masculine in his tunic and kilt. The chief medical officer stood to the right of Spock, slender and dashing in dress whites. They looked like heroes straight out of central casting, yet they bore the mantle of their heroic status with courage, grace and humility. They were the embodiment of all Nogura held sacred about the Service.

They did her proud.

The admiral studied Kirk and Spock in the holostill. Contrary to popular belief, they were of a kind, more alike than not. Both were rigid about loyalty and duty, and both possessed of a piercing intellect and an insatiable curiosity. And, obvious to everyone but they, both were adrenaline-addicted swashbucklers: one disguised as an explorer, the other as a scientist.

Nogura winced and cringed at reports of every bruise, broken bone and phaser blast. They should have been killed a dozen times over. Their detractors called them irresponsible and out of control, and claimed that eventually their luck was going to run out. Nogura did not believe in luck. It took skill to be able to talk or think or fight your way out of hopeless situations--and Kirk and Spock possessed those skills in spades.

Ultimately, no one could argue with their results.

But when Spock survived a lightening strike with nothing more than a singed tunic and Kirk was plucked from an eternity of oblivion in an alternate universe, she had to wonder that they weren’t blessed by a god with an outrageous sense of humor.

Unfortunately, both were also susceptible to occasional attacks of an almost irrational mulishness, making their relationship intense and volatile. In spite of that volatility, they were fiercely devoted to each other and anyone who dared step between them was likely to be burned to the ground, stepped over and quickly forgotten. She heard the rumor about them but she’d dismissed it without a second thought. Kirk and Spock were no mystery to her. Rumors and backbiting sabotage were beauty’s burden. At any rate, it didn’t matter to Nogura who they were fucking. Their relationship was an enormous asset to Starfleet; that was what mattered to her.

But she also knew that the same chemistry that made them so effective together, also threatened to tear them apart. That would not be good for Starfleet. Their fire needed to be tempered or redirected before they burned each other up.

Nogura pondered this dilemma until a chance encounter with a bright young lieutenant during a tour of the communications section at Deep Space 3. Nogura questioned the lieutenant briefly, staring down her hawk nose at the tiny beauty. If the lieutenant was intimidated, it did not show; and as she watched the girl walk away, the admiral believed that perhaps she wasn’t.

Nogura requested the lieutenant’s dossier.

Her service record was exceptional but the admiral’s arched brows climbed higher and higher as she reviewed the young woman’s vitae. She was ridiculously over-qualified for her current posting. Admiral Nogura was not one to tolerate the squandering of valuable Starfleet resources, and this Commodore Komack fool who left this girl to languish out in deep space would be hearing from Nogura forthwith.

The following day, Lieutenant Nyota Uhura received her new posting with nothing written in the orders other than the information that she’d been promoted to chief communications officer on the fleet’s flagship.

Three years later, Kirk and Spock were still together.

Nogura allowed herself the tiniest of self-satisfied smiles. She’d acted on a hunch, and that enormous asset to Starfleet was still firmly intact. Sometimes, one had to fight fire with fire.

An incoming call signal interrupted her reverie. Nogura read and acknowledged the message. She smiled again. She restored the holostill on her computer screen. She tapped a fingernail on the monitor.

“I’ll see you later, blue eyes,” she said softly.

Motley jerked his huge head up at the sound of her voice. Nogura patted her leg and he rolled to his feet and ambled over. She held his face between her hands. “Want to go to Vulcan, Mots? Huh, big guy? Yeah. Good boy.”

Motley thumped his tail on the floor. He’d go anywhere in the universe as long as it was with her. He did hope that this Vulcan had hares and cool, green grass like Aldebaran.


Alpha Quadrant—Sector 09

Sector 09 was Komack country. There were no stars, no planets, no comets or even an asteroid of significant size. It was excruciatingly empty, a desert--and the only space Starfleet entrusted to the inept but well-connected admiral. Komack, flexing his new Admiral muscle, assigned the Enterprise to patrol this region in an appalling demonstration of bureaucratic waste and fuckery. And possibly as punishment for some imagined—or real--insult from Kirk.

Nogura was aware of Komack’s actions. She did nothing. All in good time. Besides, it might do Jim some good to cool his heels a little bit. At least they’d be safe.

And she could sleep through the goddamn night for a change.


Chapter 2~


The Enterprise was three weeks into its patrol of desolate Sector 09. Long range sensors scanned this vast nothingness, finding only the occasional small cloud of space dust. The crew sat yawning at their posts. They were listless and irritable, walking through the corridors with glazed eyes and sulky expressions. They reported for duty early, gladly worked overtime and actually looked forward to battle drills. An anonymous comedian on the ship’s BBS suggested that this region of space be renamed to the “Ennui Sector” and that buoys be launched, warning other ships’ crews to kill themselves now to avoid a slow and painful death from tedium. To their credit, the crew did come up with creative ways to assuage their boredom. There was an interminable and convoluted combination of pick-up-sticks and kaltoh going on in main rec. An immense house of cards swayed in cargo bay four.

There was also a new game called “Let’s See Who Can Come the Closest to Getting Caught Having Sex by Mr. Scott in Engineering.” So far, Kevin Riley was winning that one.

But if the crew was irritable, Kirk felt boredom like an ache deep in his bones. He became exceedingly difficult, exasperating even Spock.

It was very rare that they clashed in front of the crew, and almost never while on the bridge but one day, Kirk began the alpha shift micro-managing Spock’s every decision. Spock patiently suffered 1.47 hours of querulous nit-picking then turned his back and bent over his scanner tower, his sudden indifference the Vulcan equivalent of “fuck you.” After a long moment of crackling silence, Kirk walked stiffly over to Spock’s station. He stood there until Spock slowly straightened and stared coolly down at him. The bridge crew hunkered at their posts and kept their eyes on their consoles. Scotty and McCoy stepped out of the turbo lift. Scotty took one look and hopped back into the lift before the doors could close again, leaving McCoy stranded. The doctor braced himself for the explosion then watched in fascination as Uhura rose from her station and casually inserted her small body between them. She handed Kirk a padd with a murmured word and a steady look. He signed the padd with a frown and strode back to the center chair. Since then, Kirk’s behavior had improved--somewhat.

His own boredom having reached critical mass, McCoy offered to teach Spock how to play poker.

“I wouldn’t play poker with Bones if you held a phaser to my head,” said Kirk.

“Don’t listen to him, Spock,” said McCoy. He leaned against the railing of the bridge pit and folded his arms. “I used to play penny ante with my old man, that’s all.”

Kirk snorted and swung the conn chair idly from side to side.

“Really, I’m not that good,” said McCoy.

Spock wasn’t buying it. He gazed blandly at the doctor. There was a snicker from the helm.

McCoy looked over his shoulder. “Tell him, Chekhov.”

“It would have been less humiliating if I’d just signed over my credit chit and gone to bed early, sir,” said Chekhov. He glowered at a smirking Sulu.

McCoy blinked blue-eyed innocence. “Come on, that was just my lucky night.”

“He can’t shoot pool either,” said Kirk.

“You’re not still on that? Seriously, Jim. I have no eye-hand coordination,” McCoy said.

“You’re the finest surgeon in the fleet.”

“That’s a whole different set of muscles.”

“That’s a whole different pile of bullsh--.”

“Wait--,” said Uhura. She held her middle finger to her ear bug.

They all turned eagerly toward her. Finally, maybe something to do.

She sighed and pulled the receiver out of her ear. “Quasar,” she said. “Sorry.”

“Damn,” said Kirk. He yawned and rubbed his eyes with the flat of his fingers. “I’m so bored, that I’m even bored in my sleep. Last night, I dreamed that I was reading the Tellarite diplomatic protocols manual.”

Chekhov dropped his forehead to his console with a loud groan.

“Yeah,” agreed Kirk. “It was an inch from my face and I couldn’t see anything else except those words running across the screen.” He stared at the doctor with wide eyes. “I couldn’t wake myself up.”

“That’s awful, Jim,” said McCoy.

“It was hellish.”

“Then what happened, sir?” asked Chekhov.

“Absolutely nothing.”

Chekhov gasped and recoiled in horror.

Uhura sighed and stood. “Can I have everyone’s attention, please?” she asked. “I ordered new vids. They came in our last SSEM three days ago.”

“What? And you’re just now telling us?” asked Chekhov. “This morning, I seriously contemplated blowing myself out of the nearest air lock just to have something to do and all this time you--.”

“Mr. Chekhov,” Spock said quietly.

“Yes, sir. I’m shutting up now, sir.”

Uhura ticked off her fingers. “We got “Casablanca,” “The Thing--.”

DeSalle spun in his chair. “Which version?” he asked.

“John Carpenter’s,” she grinned.

Je’tadore, cherie,” said DeSalle, clutching his heart.

“And--.” She paused for effect. “Cool Hand Luke.”

Chekhov let out a whoop and he and Sulu jumped up and jitterbugged. Chekhov twirled Sulu under his arm and dipped him.

“You wild, beautiful thing,” said Chekhov.

“You crazy handful of nothin’,” said Sulu.

“Did you know that Paul Newman actually was a Russian immigrant by the name of Pavel Newmanov and—,” started Chekhov.

“Let me go, you idiot,” said Sulu. Chekhov opened his arms and dropped him on the deck.

“All right, all right. Back to your posts, gentlemen,” said Kirk. He turned to Uhura. “I’m sure the crew will be happy to hear it, lieutenant.”

“I thought we could do a couple of movie nights or people could stream it in their quarters if they preferred,” said Uhura.

“It will certainly clear the corridors for the next few evenings.” Kirk stood and stretched his back, grinning at the doctor. “I’ll be on the saucer track if you need me, Mr. Spock. Care to join me, Bones?”

“Sure. Let’s see if you can beat my mile.”

Kirk stepped out of the bridge pit. “Mr. Sulu, log some hours in the center chair, if you please,” he said.

“Yes, sir!” said Sulu happily.

“Our regular match at twenty-three hundred, Mr. Spock?”

“Yes, Captain.”

Kirk motioned McCoy through the turbolift doors. “Age before beauty,” he said.

“Eat my dust, tubby,” grumbled McCoy.


At exactly 2300 hours, Spock stepped through the cabin door. He stood for a moment and listened to the sounds coming from the lavatory, then removed his clothes, folding them neatly and placing them on a chair. On a small table was a tray set with cups, a teapot and a decanter of brandy. He poured himself a cup of tea and wondered naked around the room, inhaling the familiar fragrance of the room’s occupant, relaxing his mental shielding a bit, allowing the tension of the day to drain from his body. He gazed at the objects on the shelves--arranged somewhat randomly in his opinion, but to pleasing effect. He liked this room and felt safe here. This was not just the quarters of the woman who lived here, but also the sanctuary of the relationship that nurtured and sustained him.

He took a book from a shelf jammed with an eclectic mix of other volumes. He heard the soft pat pat of bare feet then felt warm hands slide around his hips and cup his sex. He sighed deeply and closed his eyes as soft lips pressed against the space between his shoulder blades. He put the book back in its place on the shelf.

“You’re early,” murmured Uhura.

“I arrived at precisely 2300 hours,” Spock said. He gasped softly as she lifted his arm and nipped gently across his ribs with her teeth until she stood in front of him. She rose to her toes and gave him a lingering kiss, running her fingers into his hair.

“Raindrops on roses/ and whiskers on kittens/bright copper kettles/and warm woolen mittens/tall naked Vulcans who play the harp and sing/ these are a few of my favorite things,” she sang softly. She pulled back and looked at his face. As usual, his smile thrilled her to her bones.

He trailed his lips across her jaw and down her neck, bending to take a nipple into his hot mouth.

“God, you feel so good,” she sighed. “You should’ve joined me in the shower.”

“I am not dirty,” he said, nuzzling her neck.

“The night is young, darling,” chuckled Uhura.

He dropped his hands to her waist and lifted her. She gasped out a laugh that turned into a moan when he pressed his tongue into the folds of her vagina. He knew how much it aroused her when he used his strength in their lovemaking and he moaned himself when she arched her back and rolled her hips voluptuously, wantonly rubbing her pussy against his mouth. He turned with her and walked to the sleeping alcove. He lowered her to the bed and kissed his way up her body. He stretched out on top of her and gazed into her eyes.

“You are the most remarkable woman,” he said softly.

“And you are the most incredible man,” she said, stroking his cheek with her fingertips.

Spock shifted his hips, his cock slipped inside her, and his entire universe became the feel of her lush body moving beneath him and the sound of her voice whispering in his ear: “I love you, Spock. I love you.”


Jim stepped into the cabin and saw the folded uniform on the chair, with the boots neatly lined up beside it. He grinned and pulled off his tunic, throwing it carelessly on top of Spock’s clothes. He toed off his boots and kicked them out of the path to the head, but left a trail of pants, underwear and socks from the main room to the sleeping alcove.

He stood at the foot of the bed and saw the couple making love there. He sat on the edge of the bed and listened to the sounds of Nyota’s soft cries of pleasure, watched the muscles in Spock’s long body clench and flex with each stroke and gazed at their faces as they reached their climax.

He watched them and wondered what he’d done to deserve them and as always, was vaguely troubled by his good fortune.

Spock had had a peripheral awareness that Kirk entered the room but had reached the point at which he could not hold out against the force of his orgasm. He opened his eyes when Kirk sat on the bed and said, “Jim,” as his cock pulsed inside Nyota. He extended his hand, offering a link so that Jim could share in at least that.

Jim shook his head. He moved up the bed and lay down next to Nyota, kissing her lips and stroking her face until her body stopped trembling. He inhaled their scent and imagined that he could hear the rapid thud of Spock’s heart and the slower counterpoint of Nyota’s.

Spock rested his head on Nyota’s shoulder and looked at Kirk. “You are late,” he said.

“We’re sorry. We couldn’t wait,” said Nyota.

“It’s ok,” he said. “All I need is this, right now.” He kissed her eyelids closed and laid his cheek against hers. He gazed at Spock, their faces just inches apart. Whenever Jim and his brother Sam fought, their mother would make them stand with their foreheads together for some arbitrary number of minutes, sternly forbidding them to laugh when she left the room. They usually ended up in hysterics, buddies again as they did the extra chores that always came along with the “punishment”. As they grew older, touching foreheads evolved into a sort of all-purpose gesture of affection: congratulations after a winning football game, a hello or goodbye, a peace offering and sign language for “I love you, brother”. He and Sam stood with their arms around each other and their heads together for long minutes at their mother’s gravesite.

Jim pressed his lips to Nyota’s temple. He sent out a prayer of gratitude to the keeper of his good fortune, and as he stared into Spock’s eyes, he added a plea for protection. He reached up, gripped Spock’s hair and brought his forehead briefly to his own.

Spock pulled back. “There is something that troubles you, Jim,” he said.

“No.” Kirk rolled unto his back and stared at the ceiling.

Nyota nudged him in the ribs. “Tell us,” she mumbled sleepily.

“It’s nothing. Just me.” Kirk waved a hand dismissively. “In my head again.”

“Jim, you know that outside of the Academy, there are no Starfleet regulations against fraternization,” said Spock.

“I know, Spock.”

“Our arrange--,” Spock began.

“Hey…” said Nyota.

“Our relationship is the result of three adults who share a personal attachment of reciprocal positive regard. Furthermore--.

“Thank you, Spock,” said Jim.

“It is logical.”

Nyota sighed and opened her eyes long enough to roll them. She hooked a leg over Jim’s and pulled him closer. “Why were you so late?” she asked.

“I received a subspace packet. We’re diverting to Vulcan.”

“Huh,” she grunted, half asleep.

Spock tensed. “Why?” he asked. T’Pau had been ill recently.

“The Trill are trying to engineer a détente between Tellar and Andoria,” Jim said quietly.

“Ah,” said Spock, relaxing.

There had been talk of this probability for months. The Trill were natural mediators, more skilled at negotiation than perhaps even Vulcans. The parties finally agreed to meet again. But the Andorians declared that they would sooner peel the skin off their own bodies in thin strips than go to Tellar, and the Tellarites vowed to murder their own children before ever setting foot on Andoria. Vulcan had been suggested as a meeting place, and both sides reluctantly agreed.

“And we have to swing by SB7 and pick up Nogura and Komack,” said Jim.

“Komack? Shit. Of all the worst fucking luck,” mumbled Nyota.

Kirk and Spock stared at her in disbelief.

“What? I’m just practicing for the Andorian delegation. They love Standard profanity,” she said, yawning.

“I know, but really.”


Nyota chuckled. “Pussies,” she said.

Kirk sighed and tapped her lips with a finger. “Komack will be watching me like a hawk,” he said.

“Cocksucker,” muttered Nyota.

“Then we shall have to be discreet,” said Spock, covering Nyota’s mouth with his hand.

“I thought you were going to say, “We should suspend our sexual activities until our mission on Vulcan is concluded.” Or something like that,” said Jim.

“Why should I make such a statement?” asked Spock.

Uhura pulled Spock’s hand away from her mouth and said, “Your mother’s going to take one look at us and know everything we ever did.”

“As will Sarek. And T’Pau. And probably General Golan. ” Jim added.

Spock frowned. “My family would not consider my relationships to be any of their concern. I am an un-bonded adult male. It is my right.”

“I fucking love Vulcans,” said Nyota.

“They may find my taste in women questionable, however,” said Spock, raising a brow.

“Indeed,” Jim laughed.

“Kiss my ass,” said Uhura.

“Please go to sleep, Nyota,” said Spock.

She closed her eyes obediently. Jim kissed her lips and she smiled against his mouth. He gazed at her face and sighed.

Spock watched Jim and waited. He knew that Jim would eventually begin to talk. He had almost drifted into sleep himself when Jim finally spoke.

“I don’t think I can do this,” Jim whispered. He messaged his forehead with his fingertips. “Being happy,” he answered, though Spock had not asked the question. “It makes me anxious. We have no conflicts.”

“The woman sleeping between us would beg to differ,” said Spock.

“Yes. But even our fights are good, if that makes any sense.”

“She is a challenge that is most agreeable.”

“I’m not used to getting everything I want.”

“Jim, when have you not always been able to acquire anything you wanted?”

“You know what I mean.”

“I do not.”

“Everything I have, I’ve had to work hard—the Academy, my rank, the Enterprise.
This—.” He waved a hand between them. “This is easy.”

Spock sat up, careful not to jostle Nyota. “It is unwise for you to assume that our relationship is a given,” he said.

“You do.”

“I see no logical reason for our relationship to not continue. That is not the same as assuming that the status quo will remain constant.” He stroked two fingers along the curve of Nyota’s hip. “However, my logic is uncertain in regards to this woman,” he whispered. “We must remember that she does not belong to either of us.”

“I’ve been so lucky, Spock.”

“Luck is illogical. You just said that you worked hard for all that you have gained.”

Kirk’s eyes followed the path of Spock’s fingertips as they traveled over Nyota’s hip to her thigh. “Maybe that’s what I’m afraid of. That all this will be taken from me. That I don’t deserve it.” He laid his head on Nyota’s hip.

“You are being overly melodramatic, Jim,” said Spock. “But since it troubles you so then I assure you, that if it is within my power, this will not be taken from you.” He lifted his fingers from Nyota’s skin and lightly brushed Jim’s forelock from his brow before continuing on.

Kirk smiled softly. “Thank you, Spock,” he said. He leaned over and trailed his lips behind Spock’s fingers as they traced a lazy pattern across the smooth brown skin. Spock pointed to a tiny mole on Nyota’s thigh. When Kirk softly kissed there, Spock moved his hand to another beneath her navel. Kirk followed with his lips. Spock pointed to the slight protrusion of her hip bone. Kirk licked gently with his tongue. Spock rubbed his hand up her body and cupped a breast in his palm. Kirk sucked the offered nipple into his mouth.

“Helen Noel thinks that we make love to Nyota because we won’t make love to each other,” Kirk murmured, his breath deepening.

Spock gazed at Kirk, watching him nuzzle the dark nipple with his lips. “Interesting,” he said.

“That’s exactly what I said.”

“If that’s the case, then I’m the luckiest woman in the universe,” said Nyota. She rolled over onto her back.

“No, that is not the case. It’s Dr. Noel taking her new assignment much too seriously. And by the way, you’re supposed to be asleep,” said Jim, bending his head to trace her nipple with his tongue.

“How could I sleep with all this going on?”

“We did not wish for you to be awake at this moment,” said Spock. His fingers tickled their way down her body. He stopped when his fingers came to the area and inch above the tender bud of her clitoris. He pointed. Jim bent down and pressed his lips there.

“Oh,” she sighed. “Is that the game?”

Jim glanced at Spock who responded with a quirk of one brow. “Sure,” said Jim. “That’s the game.”

Nyota closed her eyes. “Wait,” she giggled. “Ok. Now.” She giggled again then was quiet.

Spock stroked a tapered fingertip up and down between the lips of her vagina then rested it lightly on her clitoris. Jim moved down and captured Spock’s finger and the hardening nub between his lips, swirling his tongue around both. Nyota gasped softly and opened her thighs.

“Jimmy,” she moaned.

He moved up and positioned himself between her legs. He looked down and let out a trembling sigh as he watched himself slowly enter her dark flesh.

“Oh, god,” he whispered.

She gripped his hair and pulled his face up to hers. “Remember when Psi 2000 was breaking up and we were about to burn up in the atmosphere?”

He blinked, disoriented. “You want to talk about this now?”

“I have to tell you, Jim. It’s important.”

“And you laughed at my discomfort when, last week, she wanted to discuss particle physics during fellatio,” said Spock, rolling back and propping himself up on his elbows.

“I--.” Jim inhaled deeply through his nose and blew out slowly through pursed lips. “Ok.”

“Just listen,” said Nyota.

Jim closed his eyes briefly. “I’m listening,” he said carefully.

“I was on the bridge running back and forth between my station and Spock’s, checking the hull temperature and calculating and recalculating our re-entry trajectory.”


“You called me from engineering and ordered a report every thirty seconds.”

“Yes, yes, I remember,” said Jim. “Can we--?”

“Wait,” she said, squeezing his hips with her thighs. She was trying to hold him immobile but her efforts served to inflame him even more.

“Nyota.” He pushed himself up on his palms and looked down to where their bodies were joined. “Please, baby,” he groaned.

“I was the only senior officer left on the bridge with a bunch of green kids. I couldn’t find Spock. Sulu was still in sickbay. I heard Scotty tell you the engines were cold. I should have been scared to death. But I wasn’t.”

Jim looked back at her. “What?”

“I wasn’t afraid because I knew--I knew that if it meant you having to throw your body between the ship and the planet, you weren’t going to lose us. Later, I listened to the tapes of my voice calmly ticking off the time and hull temperature. I knew you wouldn’t let us die and I wasn’t afraid.”

He lowered himself onto her body and buried his face in her neck. “Everything that I love is on this ship.” His voice was muffled against her skin.

“Oh, Jim,” she said, stroking the back of his head. “I hear you sometimes at night when you think I’m asleep. I don’t think you even know you’re saying it out loud. I hear you praying. I know you don’t call it that but I do.” She pushed her fingers into his hair pulled his head up so she could see his face. “I hear your prayers and you ask more for us—me and Spock--than you do for yourself. That kind of love…I don’t know. I guess I’m trying to say, don’t doubt it, Jim. Trust it. Trust this.”

“I believe that it was actually my intermix formula that prevented the Enterprise from incinerating in the atmosphere of Psi 2000,” whispered Spock, leaning in close.

Jim and Nyota looked at him. His expression was earnest and slightly puzzled. Jim started to laugh first. Nyota tried not to.

“Yes, it did, honey,” she said, then broke into laughter.

“I fail to see the humor,” said Spock.

Jim looked at him, wiping tears from his cheeks. “No, Spock. It’s just—.” He looked down at his friend’s body and guffawed. He gestured with a hand and Nyota looked down. She squealed with laughter.

Spock sighed and lay back, waiting.

When he could finally talk, Kirk said, “I’m sorry, Spock. It’s just the way you said that.” He swallowed another burst of laughter. “You were so serious.”

“I was under the impression that the subject matter was serious,” said Spock.

“Then I looked down and you had this giant erection and you were talking about intermix formulas,” said Jim.

“Yes?” said Spock.

Nyota clamped a hand over her mouth and snorted through her fingers. Spock frowned, confused.

“Spock, you--. Never mind,” said Jim.

“Then, shall we continue our game? That is, if I am not the only one who was able to maintain his erection?”

“I think I can manage, Spock. How about you, Nyota?”

“Actually, you’re getting a little heavy,” she said, pushing at his chest.

Kirk laughed and rolled over unto his back, carrying her with him. Spock rose to his knees and positioned himself behind Nyota. He slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her upright, holding her body against his, tilting her head back and kissing her deeply. He gripped her thighs and lifted her, spreading her legs wide. He very slowly lowered her until just the head of Jim’s penis pierced her hot, wet opening. He held her there, watching Jim’s face over her shoulder and murmuring in Vulcan into her ear. She laughed softly and shivered. Jim moaned with the effort to keep himself from thrusting into her.

“Spock,” he panted.

“Wait,” said Spock.

Jim dropped his head back on the pillows and squeezed his eyes closed.

“Look at us, Jim,” said Spock.

Jim opened his eyes and watched as Spock leisurely caressed Nyota’s sex with his fingers. She leaned against his shoulder, gazing down at Jim from beneath her lashes.

“Is she not beautiful?” said Spock.

“She’s so beautiful,” sighed Jim. He thrust up with his hips as Spock held her above him.

And later when the sight, the sound, the scent of her was more than Jim could bear, he sat up, looked into Spock’s eyes and whispered, “Now.”

Spock’s fingers found his contact points and they both came, their bodies shuddering, their breaths catching in their throats, Spock with his arms around Nyota and Jim with his arms around them both.

Jim fell back against the pillows. Spock gave Nyota gently into his arms and stretched out beside them. They were quiet a long time.

“Do you feel better now, Jim?”

Kirk chuckled. “Yes, Spock. Thank you.”

Nyota made a muffled sound. Spock slipped and arm around her waist and fitted his body to hers.

Sa’kai, rom mu-yo,” said Spock.

“Goodnight, Spock.”

Jim lay listening to the sound of their breathing and watching the minutes tick by on the chronometer projection overhead. He smiled to himself. Spock and Uhura almost always fell immediately to sleep after sex—that is, if Nyota didn’t want a cheeseburger. It was such intimate detail to know about them. He felt a tiny thrill of panic and his smile faded. He inhaled a shaky breath and let it out slowly. He felt Spock stir and forced himself to relax.

With Nyota’s head on his chest and Spock spooned against her, Jim’s arm was trapped between their bodies. He going to move, but his shoulder was a bit sore and he decided that Spock’s heat felt good against it.

He closed his eyes and let sleep take him.


~Chapter 3


General Golan’s eyes swept the Great Hall as he, several members of the High Council and the ranking officers of the palace guard awaited the arrival of the party from Starfleet. He observed Emony Dax in quiet conversation with Colonel Stonn. Golan discreetly rolled his massive shoulders. Dax had selected him to be her sparring partner in that morning’s martial arts practice.

She quickly put him on his back.

Dax glanced over at him. Golan inclined his head. She respectfully returned the gesture then winked. There was a muffled sound from Golan’s left. He turned to the man standing next to him.

S’haile?” he said.

“General,” said Sarek, keeping his eyes focused at a point in the middle distance.

“You were about to speak?” asked Golan.

“Not I.”

“I am certain you were, S’haile.”

“Perhaps a bit of dust in my throat, General,” said Sarek.

“Shall I send an attendant for water?”

“I require nothing at the moment,” said Sarek, nodding to a passing Council member.

Golan frowned at the side of Sarek’s head. “The Trill is sturdier than she appears,” he said.

Sarek took a moment to reset his expression before turning to Golan. “As you say, General,” he replied. He looked over Golan’s shoulder and his eyes darkened.

Golan turned and watched as she who was his wife and the Lady Amanda approached. As always, he had to suppress a flash of heat in his blood at the sight of Salaran. He watched the muscles in her long legs flex under the thin fabric of her form-fitting uniform. Her hair had grown since he last saw her six months ago and was cut in a sleek style that subverted the tradition of elaborate twists and updos that Vulcan women endured for centuries. Her hair was boxed high on the back of her neck and her bangs were razored in a straight line across her brow. The cut was easy to maintain and infinitely more practical for the captain of a survey ship. It was quite logical. It certainly did not detract from her beauty, and Golan anticipated the moment when he could slide his fingers into its shiny black thickness. Salaran glanced at her husband from beneath her lashes and flushed light green.

“Control, General,” murmured Sarek.

“As you say, S’haile.”

“Greetings, my wife,” Sarek said quietly. He held up two fingers as Amanda walked over.

Amanda’s eyes flicked to the green tips of Sarek’s ears. “My husband,” she replied. She pressed her fingers to his, allowing the contact to linger.

S’haile,” said Salaran, inclining her head to Sarek.

“Captain Salaran,” replied Sarek.

Salaran turned to her husband. They did not touch fingers, only stood facing each other. Sarek and Amanda looked politely elsewhere, and after an appropriate length of silence, Amanda spoke.

“Salaran was just telling me about her survey of Belleri Prime,” she said. “If memory serves, Belleri Prime is a flat, wind-blasted wasteland and the entire planet is really just an eight foot crust of magnetized hardpack sand over a solid iron core. Ideal for war games but not for spelunking, I should think.”

“My wife--,” began Sarek.

“She is correct, Sarek,” said Salaran. “Belleri Prime is completely unremarkable, Amanda. My crew and I spent quite a bit of time re-verifying this fact.” Her eyes drifted over Sarek and Golan’s faces. She turned back to Amanda. “But mine is a survey ship and I am a geophysicist. I serve at the pleasure of the Council. However heavily refitted with weapons my ship has become of late, I leave the soldiering to he who is my husband.”

“Not that Vulcan has need of soldiers, as my husband assures me,” said Amanda, glancing over her shoulder at Colonel Stonn and his fierce-looking lieutenants.

“I carry no military title,” said Sarek. “I am as much a civilian as you, my wife.”

Golan coughed lightly into his fist.

“As you say, my husband,” said Amanda, her eyes sparkling.

“We live in…uncertain times,” said Salaran.

“Apparently,” replied Amanda.

“My lady,” said Golan. When both women looked at him, he did not go on. He glanced at Sarek, who seemed to have found the stone floor suddenly and extremely interesting. “Er, the Enterprise party is delayed twenty minutes,” Golan finished lamely.

“Then Salaran and I shall be in the gardens. Send my child to me there when he arrives,” said Amanda.

“As you wish.”

Sarek and Golan gazed after the women.

“Vulcan men command nothing, General,” said Sarek.

“I am reminded of such each time I look into the eyes of she who is my wife,” said Golan.

They looked at each other.

Kaiidth,” said Sarek.

“Indeed,” said Golan. He watched his mate exit the great hall. After a moment, he frowned.

“Can I assume that you are still troubled by your night shade?” Sarek asked.

“It has been a tenday since. Perhaps it was only a phantom.”

“I sense a “however”,” said Sarek.

It was Golan’s turn to study the floor. “I, ah, I have--,”

Sarek took a discreet step closer to his friend. “Speak freely, Golan.”

“I have been …uneasy.”

Sarek could not stop his blink of surprise.

Golan looked away. “It is less an emotion and more a sensation. It is difficult to quantify.”

“Please continue.”

“I have awakened in the night on three occasions,” said Golan but he seemed unwilling to go on.

Sarek studied the big Vulcan. Though they were of different castes, he and Golan had suckled at the breasts of the same wet nurse, the only two babies born in the palace that season. They slept in the same bassinet and any attempt at separating them meant deafening wails of green-faced outrage that once brought Sarek’s father in an actual run from his study on the other side of the palace. They learned to walk by pulling up on each other, tottering along in a shuffling side-step, each gripping the arms of the other. They shared the same tutors until after their kaswan, when Skon put his foot down. Thereafter, Sarek went on to study science and music and Golan, the battle arts. But they remained the closest of friends; and though Golan often relied more heavily on intuition than logic, Sarek trusted him with his own life and that of anyone in his family.

Sarek turned and faced Golan full on. “Golan cha’Maxon,” he said quietly. “Thee acted as executioner at my son’s koon-ut-kali-fi. It is my honor to know thee as my more-than-brother.”

“This, I accept,” said Golan.

Sarek nodded and stepped to Golan’s side again. “Then tell your old milk-mate about this sense of unease.”

Golan was quiet for a moment, trying to put his thoughts into words. “There is another here.”

Sarek glanced around.

“No, Sarek, not at this moment—though I believe that he may be watching.”

“So you have seen him.”

“No. I have…felt him.” He raised a hand before Sarek could speak. “I have scanned the palace and compound multiple times and have searched with I’Tet inch by inch. I have set sensor traps. Further, I have scanned the planetary defense web for breaches.”

“And?” asked Sarek.

“Nothing. No sign of transporter activity, spatial distortions or phase variances. I have even taken to allowing I’Tet to sleep in my chambers and he snores loudly through the night.”

“Amanda over-indulges that animal.”

Amanda?” Golan raised a brow. “Perhaps. However, he did something quite interesting last night. I awakened again so I took I’Tet for a final check through the palace with my hand scanner. I made a cursory check of your meditation cell and as I took my leave, I’Tet lingered. I turned back to call him to me and I saw him staring into a corner. I returned and took a careful scan of the room and again, nothing.”

“An insect on the wall captured his attention, perhaps?”

“No insects. But Sarek, I am certain that for a brief moment, I’Tet’s posture was one of welcome--welcome to one who is long familiar.”

“That could explain—.”

“That could explain why the sehlat has not reacted to an intruder.”

“I’Tet is familiar with this being,” said Sarek.

“A being that appears to move through the walls,” said Golan.


~Chapter 4


Kevin Riley skidded into the transporter room with Motley hot on his heels, their wild race through the ship the cause of a twenty-minute delay of the Starfleet delegation’s beam down to Vulcan. Komack frowned severely and opened his mouth to speak. Nogura glanced at him and his mouth snapped shut.

Good dog, Kirk thought.

“Motley, come,” commanded Nogura. Motley leaped unto the transporter dais and delicately placed all four paws on Nogura’s pad, looking up at her with a grin.

“Energize,” said Kirk, also grinning.


The Enterprise picked up the Admirals Nogura and Komack at Star Base 7 two days before and Kirk had given Motley free reign of the ship. The crew took to Motley instantly and he quickly adopted Riley as his puppy playmate. They careened around the corridors chasing balls, each other and Chekhov. The dog was intensely curious about engineering but stayed away after one stern look from the chief engineer. Nothing McCoy did could lure him into sickbay but second to the mess hall, the bridge was his favorite place to be. He curled his big body next to Spock’s chair and lay quietly for hours, staring up at Spock with adoring eyes and watching the bridge crew go about their business.

“I have no idea what he sees in you, Spock,” said McCoy.

“Dogs are very perceptive creatures, doctor,” said Spock.

“I’ve known him since he was a puppy and he never liked me that much.”

“I knew it,” said Kirk, grinning into his cup of coffee.

McCoy shifted uncomfortably. “You don’t know anything. And what you think you know has been over for years. Mostly.” McCoy frowned down at Motley. “What I want to know is why the dog was scratching at Uhura’s door last night? If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was looking for you, Spock.”

Jim snorted coffee up his nose. McCoy pounded him on his back.

“You all right there, Jim?”

“I’m fine, Bones. Just—wrong pipe,” he wheezed.

“It is true that I was in Miss Uhura’s quarters last night,” said Spock.

Kirk stared at Spock, openmouthed.

“I knew it,” said McCoy.

“I was teaching a music lesson, doctor.”

McCoy searched Spock’s face with narrowed eyes. “Liar,” he said.

“I beg your pardon?” said Spock. Kirk flushed dark red.

“Lyre, harp, whatever you call it,” said McCoy.

“Ah, yes. Lyre,” said Spock.

“Don’t change the subject, Bones,” Kirk quickly interjected. “Since we picked up the Admirals things have been interesting.”

“Indeed,” said Spock.

“I have nothing to hide,” McCoy said stiffly. “When I met Nogura, she was out of uniform. Oh, stop it, Jim. You know what I mean. She was still a captain and I wasn’t even in Starfleet yet. Over the years, we sort of kept running into each other. Now, we’re just friends. Mostly.” He ran a finger under his collar. “Emony, however, is another matter.”

“You know Emony Dax?” asked Spock.

“We uh, met when I was in medical school.”

“Bones, I do believe you have a secret history,” said Kirk.

McCoy shrugged and dropped his eyes. He gazed briefly at the two men from beneath his lashes before turning to leave. As he passed Uhura’s station, he dipped his head and murmured something that caused her to flush and giggle with a hand covering her mouth.

“Perhaps not so secret,” said Spock.

“Maybe not,” said Kirk.


When the Enterprise party beamed down to Vulcan, they were met by Stonn and his lieutenants.

S’haile,” said Stonn, inclining his head.

“Colonel Stonn,” said Spock. He turned to the others. “Admiral Nogura. Komack. Lieutenant Uhura, Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy. The dog is called Motley.”

Stonn nodded to each politely--even the dog—his eyes flickering briefly, curiously over Uhura’s face. The colonel also took note of Spock’s omission of Komack’s title. “Greetings,” said Stonn. “And from all of Vulcan, welcome. Your presence honors us.”

“We are here to serve,” replied Spock

“They await you in the Great Hall, S’haile,” said Stonn, leading the way. His lieutenants lined up behind him and they proceeded from the courtyard.

Aside from the Admirals, only Uhura acted in any official capacity, tasked during this conference to run interference between the abysmally culturally incompetent Komack and the rest of the delegates. McCoy was on stand-by as the Starfleet medic. Kirk and Spock were there per diplomatic protocol as honor guard, relegated on this trip to the role of glorified red shirts. Once they dispensed with the formalities, Kirk and Spock were essentially on shore leave. Admiral Nogura listened with growing alarm as they talked quietly about para gliding out on the Forge.

“—the large, male raptors will not typically--.”

Nogura stopped and spun around. “No. No, goddamn it.” She leveled a finger at them, eyes flashing. “You two will not engage in any dangerous activities for the duration. Do I make myself clear?”

Spock and Kirk stared at her, astonished. They glanced at their companions. Uhura kept her eyes front. One look at McCoy’s stony expression and they knew no help was forthcoming from him. Stonn and his lieutenants paused a discreet distance ahead. Komack walked past them, completely unaware. They turned back to Admiral Nogura.

“Is. That. Clear?” she repeated through clenched teeth.

“Yes, sir,” they said.

“I’ve got enough to worry about without you two running around in the desert doing your best to get yourselves killed. You--.”

“Admiral—.” Kirk began.

“I don’t recall giving you permission to speak, mister.”

Kirk stiffened into attention. “Sir, no sir,” he said.

Nogura gave them each a hard look. “I have half a mind to confine you to the castle and the compound. There’s plenty to keep you occupied here.”

“I assure you that we will not engage in any dangerous activities, Admiral,” said Spock.

“Good.” She resumed walking. After a few feet, she stopped and glared at Spock, stepping into his personal space. “And don’t think you’re getting away with any Vulcan semantics of what constitutes “dangerous activities”. I don’t care who your father is. I will kick your ass, Mr. Spock.”

“Sir, yes sir,” said Spock, blinking.

“Do you have any idea how much the two of you cost?” she grumbled.

“Three—,” Spock began.

“Spock,” murmured McCoy.

Up ahead, Komack turned and huffed impatiently, already sweating profusely. “Is there a problem?” he asked loudly.

Nogura sighed heavily. They continued on to the Great Hall.

Motley lingered, sniffing around the base of a huge warrior statue carved bas-relief in an alcove of the castle wall. McCoy whistled softly and the dog loped after them. When he reached the humans, Motley looked back and whined softly, deep in his chest.


whispered gently into his doggy consciousness.


In the darkness behind the alcove, minute holes drilled long ago into the thick stone walls filtered the barest pins of dusty light at intervals along a narrow passageway that dead ended, mid-room, inside the walls of the Great Hall. Suvan the vampire moved from pin light to pin light, ears flexing to catch the muffled words of the Starfleet party as they walked to the hall. He knelt and lightly placed tapered fingertips against the wall. He cocked his head curiously at McCoy’s whistle. An instant later, Suvan felt

(i am motley!)

as the dog trotted away. Suvan fell back with a gasp, scraping his elbow on the rough stone behind him.

“Greetings, Motley,” he chuckled.


Vulcan engineering was a both a blessing and a curse to Suvan. Even after two millennia, the stones that built the castle’s interior walls were still joined seamlessly, admitting no light and very little air into the maze of passageways behind them. Secret doors remained secret--perfectly balanced, disappearing into the walls and floors, completely invisible if one did not know of their existence. There were chambers and chutes, stairs and trapdoors; and in the old nursery, a cradle hidden behind the wall was attached to rails and counterbalances that could whisk a child up five stories to the keep or drop him quickly down into the depths beneath the castle. There were also blind alleys and traps that could leave an enemy searching for an exit until he either starved or fell to his death down shafts dug deep into the mountain.

Maps detailing this intricate system were meticulously filed away in the castle library, deep in the clan archives, seen only by one set of Vulcan eyes in a thousand years.

Suvan watched the Enterprise party carefully as they walked to the Great Hall. Their leader was self–contained and almost Vulcan in her bearing until she spun around and angrily addressed the one called Kirk. There was a Vulcan youth with them. Suvan blinked in surprise at the formality with which Stonn greeted the youngster. Was this the son of Sarek? The boy’s resemblance to T’Pau was unmistakable, his accent the refined lilt of L’langon Mountain clan nobility. Surely this child was far too young to be an officer in the Starfleet, let alone old enough to leave the house of his father. Sarek would never allow it.

Suvan was fascinated with the humans. He longed to discuss these humans with someone, but he had no one. There was one book about Terrans in the palace library, a slim volume with perfunctory descriptions of human physiology, culture and history; and that, hardly enough information to warrant publication as a journal article. There were no details about their technology except one sentence on the last page about a person called Zephram Cochran that, were it not written by a Vulcan, Suvan would have thought it condescending. There was however, some detail about an engineer named Lily Sloan. There was also a long paragraph about a comestible called “chocolate”.

Suvan did not dare to remain near the Great Hall. He was confident that he would not be discovered--these passages were also built to conceal--but he had taken too many risks and the intelligent and empathic Golan was already uneasy. At any rate, Suvan was tired, still weakened from the effects of his Awakening. He sought succor in what small animals he could capture during his short forays to the other side of the mountain, but they provided meager sustenance. He needed to feed on much larger prey tonight and that meant hunting in the open desert.

The very thought of the hunt wearied him. Even the smallest of prey animals on Vulcan were difficult to catch. The night before, he saw a small herd of jarel picking delicately up the mountain side. At only twenty kilos they were fast and dangerous, their small sharp horns and spurred hooves, deadly. But he needed blood before his hunger grew beyond the tenuous control with which he held it in check.

The need. It would burn in him hot as the molten rivers of T’Khut, making the blind madness of pon farr seem a trifling, childhood fever in comparison.

Suvan rose to his feet in the passageway. He inspected the scrape on his elbow. He caught a tiny drop of blood on a fingertip and brought it to his mouth. It burned his lips. His breath hitched in his chest. His penis hardened. His eyes flared amber in the darkness.

“My heart is flame,” he whispered.


~Chapter 6

Kirk lay on the stone floor in Spock’s sleeping chambers and listened to Uhura’s soft, shuddering breaths as Spock’s mouth worked between her legs. He realized with a tiny pang of jealousy, that for the second time in as many weeks, they started without him.

He was in the transporter room the day Uhura first came aboard the Enterprise. He felt Spock stiffen beside him as she materialized. He glanced curiously at Spock and saw that his gaze was fixed on Uhura. Kirk could almost see an electric arc of lust and recognition flash between them, as if the two had been only been waiting for the other to appear. The air left his lungs in a soft rush and his hand had fluttered to his chest, his fingertips coming to rest gently over his heart in a gesture that was almost feminine. Uhura recovered her composure first, her dark eyes flicking toward Kirk as she asked, “Permission to come aboard, Captain?” Even then, in that tiny moment, he knew that her directing her question at him was not for the sake of military protocol but her generosity in including him in the relationship that formed instantly between her and Spock,. Now, despite their protestations to the contrary, there would be one day that conversation that would gently separate him from them, that would regulate him to that status of Favorite Uncle to their children and—

“Stop sulking.”

Kirk looked up with a start. Nyota looked down at him from the edge of the sleeping platform.

“What? I’m--,” started Kirk.

“We waited one point four three hours for you, Jim,” said Spock, peering over Nyota’s shoulder.

“Well, one of us waited, anyway,” Nyota grinned.

“Nyota, I implored you to cease your activities but—.”

“Since when has that ever been a problem, Spock?” asked Nyota.

“You are correct. I am Vulcan,” Spock said smoothly.

“Lucky for me,” she said nipping his shoulder with her teeth.

Kirk sighed. Uhura looked down at him.

“What took you so long this time, Jim?”

Kirk dropped his head back unto the stones and spread his arms and legs so that as much of his skin as possible came into contact with the cool floor.

“It’s hard to skulk around in a castle full of Vulcans. Between Stonn and General Golan, it took me and hour to nonchalantly walk forty feet to Spock’s rooms,” he said.

“Why would you have to “skulk” to my chambers, Jim?” asked Spock. “It would not be unusual for you to be here at any hour.”

“Guilt makes you skulk,” said Nyota.

“And sulk, apparently,” said Spock.

“Get serious,” snapped Kirk. “I don’t know how you got here so quickly, Nyota.”

“Golan escorted me,” Nyota shrugged.

“What?” Kirk sat up in alarm.

“Is there a problem, Jim?”

“Yeah, Spock. There’s a problem,” said Kirk. “This is a diplomatic mission. The appearance of professionalism must be maintained.”

“And yet, there you lie, naked, on my floor,” said Spock.

“He did say the “appearance” of professionalism,” said Nyota.

“Hence, the skulking.”

“Right.” Nyota rolled unto Spock’s back and nuzzled his neck. “Everybody knows, Jim,” she said. “Sarek, Amanda, Golan.”

“McCoy, Stonn, Admiral Nogura,” said Spock.

“Emony Dax and Ambassador Shras know. But I doubt the Tellarites have figured it out.”

“Nor has Komack,” added Spock.

“Don’t forget Motley. He knows.”

“As does I’Tet.”

Kirk stared at them with wide eyes. “This is not funny. Why is this funny?”

They watched him with straight faces for a long moment. Nyota pointed to a stack of padds on a side table.

“Golan thinks I’m here to discuss L’langon clan dialect and High Vulcan syntax,” she said.

“God damn it. Why do you guys do that to me?” cried Kirk.

“Because it’s so easy.”

“It’s mean.”

“Really, Jim. For such an intelligent human, your gullibility never ceases to amaze me.”

Uhura patted the cushion beside Spock. “Get up here, silly,” she said.

“It’s too hot,” said Kirk. He brought his knees up and propped his forearms across them.

“I can assist you in regulating your body temperature,” said Spock, reaching for Kirk’s contact points.

Kirk tilted his head out of reach. “No,” he said.

Spock and Uhura glanced at each other.

“You and Nyota have engaged in sexual activity without me on occasion,” said Spock.

“Many, many occasions,” said Nyota.

Spock frowned.

“I mean, sometimes,” Uhura winced.

“You said many occasions.”

“Come on, Spock. You know what I mean.”

“Actually, you said many, many.”


Jim started to chuckle. He threw his head back and laughed.

“Shh!” giggled Nyota.

Jim pushed himself off the floor and plopped down on the pallet. Spock lay on his stomach with Nyota sprawled on his back. Jim gazed at them. Nyota placed a hand on his cheek.

“You are my love,” she said.

Spock brushed his fingers lightly across Jim’s forehead. Kirk felt his body cool slightly.

They were quiet, watching the flickering light of the candle on the walls. A hot breeze blew through the narrow windows, bringing to them the scent of sage and roses from Amanda’s garden. T’Khut burned low on the horizon and a raptor shrieked above the desert.

“I love it here,” said Jim.

“It is agreeable to be home,” said Spock, kissing Nyota’s fingers.

“Will you want to live here after Starfleet?”

Spock traced the lines of Nyota’s palm with a finger. He gazed at Kirk. “It is an option among many that we may consider, Jim,” he said.

“We won’t leave you, Jim,” whispered Nyota.

“I know,” said Kirk.

“We cannot,” said Spock.

Jim nodded. Spock frowned but decided to let the matter drop.

“So, are we going to engage in sexual activities or what?” asked Nyota.

“As you wish,” said Spock.

He flipped their positions, stretched out on top of her and nuzzled her breasts. She gripped his hair in her fingers and moaned softly. She opened her eyes and saw Jim watching. She lifted her head from the pillow.

“Aren’t you going to—.”

“I’m not really up for it right, now,” he said. He motioned vaguely at his flaccid penis.

Spock reached for his contact points. “I can assist you--.”

“Cut it out,” Jim said, grinning. He pushed Spock’s hand away.

“You seriously don’t want to now?” asked Nyota.

“Must’ve been all the skulking.”

“It is my understanding that your perception of the illicitness of our meeting would add to your arousal,” said Spock.

“Maybe it’s the heat,” said Kirk.



Kirk’s grin grew larger. “Gotcha,” he said.

“You can be a real jerk sometimes,” said Nyota.

“Indeed,” said Spock.

Jim pushed Spock off Nyota and pulled her on top of him. He kissed her deeply. “Vulcans aren’t the only ones who can control their erections,” he whispered.

“Oh,” she sighed. “Indeed.”

But as Jim neared his climax, he closed his eyes against the sight of Spock kissing her mouth, holding her face between the fingertips of both hands, and hearing


Spock say for the first time in all the years that they were together, the words that made him cry out when he came, eyes squeezed shut, his body clenched and his face averted:

(“nee’ota tal-kam”)

“I love you, Nyota.”

Later, he made them wait while he lay on top of her. He was still hard when she pushed him gently away and he gasped and shivered as his cock and his ejaculate left her body. He rolled to his side and kept his back to them as they moved together. He stared at the far wall.


Suvan stepped back from the peephole. He breathed slowly and carefully through his nose. He was certain that the human male—Kirk—could not see him, but for a moment it seemed as if their eyes had met. Suvan could feel Kirk’s grief and his lust and he ached for the man. He knew this pain. It was part and parcel of his cursed blood. He put his eye to the hole again. Spock and Nee’ota held each other, their bodies trembling with orgasm. Kirk still lay on his side with his hands clenched between his thighs.

Doubt thou the stars are fire,” whispered Suvan. “Doubt that the sun doth move. Doubt truth to be a liar; but never doubt I love. They are yours, Kirk. How do you not know this?”

Suvan turned from the wall and walked through the passageways with his head down. His hunger for blood was sated for the time being, but was now replaced with this new pain.

End Chapter 6